Sunday, September 28, 2014
Cable vs. Satellite.... How About Neither!
Cable and satellite providers are constantly quarreling over who is the best and is therefore more deserving of your hard earned dollar. If you visit DirecTV's website, they claim that they are number one is satellite TV and "beat cable". If you visit Time Warner Cable's website they tell you you can "Enjoy Better".
So, which is better?
...How about NONE OF THE ABOVE!!
About twenty months ago, we were moving to Elizabeth City. We were in a two-year contract with DirecTV (one which we voluntarily but regrettably signed). We informed DirecTV that we were moving and they visited the new town-home to determine the best satellite location to transfer the service. Since our landlord would not allow us to place a dish on the roof, we could only have the dish on a pole. Unfortunately (well actually fortunately), given the positioning of the trees in the backyard, we did not have a clear view of the southern sky. DirecTV allowed us out of our contract without penalty since we had no logistical way of continuing service from our new residence.
As we started taking a look at our local cable option, we started to weigh the benefits of having some form of upgraded television. I enjoyed watching ESPN, Comedy Central, and USA; and my wife enjoyed Oxygen and HGTV. Other than those channels we were not particularly interested in other shows on TV. (Ok there was one or two shows on A&E that we were interested in, but that was really about it). We started to look at the cost of us enjoying these television shows. We saw the range was between $60 and $80 each month for cable alone. There were bundling options available (triple play, etc), but seriously who has a house phone anymore and even those were starting around $100.00. My wife and I made the conscious decision to go without cable or satellite for a few months to see if we could survive without our favorite shows.
We purchased an indoor/outdoor antenna and continued our Netflix subscription (which at the time was only $7.99). After the first six months, we realized we were really not missing much. Most of the TV shows we enjoyed would pop up on Netflix (albeit sometimes six to eight months after they aired), and the antenna received okay reception (like four channels). Given where we live, we are right on the cusp of reception limits. Most TV stations are around 35 - 40 miles away. On a cloudy day we can receive seven or eight channels, but we only expect to receive four or five normally. While our selection is fairly limited, it is sufficient for our needs. We find ourselves watching tons of PBS, which contrary to by belief as a kid, isn't all that bad. One TV show in particular, North Carolina Weekend, has become a favorite Saturday morning show for Aimee and me.
Getting rid of satellite/cable for twenty months and netting out the cost of Netflix and the antenna has saved us around $1,389.
Yea, that's big money! "Franklin, Grant, and Jackson!"
Just as equally important, not having the upgraded TV options has allowed my wife and I to focus our spending on other, more useful items.
Getting rid of satellite and cable has become a somewhat popular trend recently. There are other alternatives that we are not taking advantage of currently. Hulu plus allows you to watch more current TV shows and Chromecast/Apple TV/Roku provide other options as well.
If you have a money saving story regarding television, and would like to share, please feel free to post a comment. Also if you have a savings idea you would like to share please email firstname.lastname@example.org.